The Calpol rollercoaster

For me, the scariest rollercoaster in the world isn’t at Alton Towers or Drayton Manor. It is the Capol rollercoaster. Anyone whose child has had a high temperature (and whose hasn’t?!) will know exactly what I mean.

The Calpol rollercoaster is a term my husband and I coined many years ago. It’s the four doses in 24 hours, but only works for four hours problem. How far can you push it, how long can you wait, how high can your child’s temperature get before you cave in and give the next dose? Because if your child is having it every four hours, that is going to leave a whopping eight hours at the end of the 24 hour period when they are unprotected. The Calpol rollercoaster.

Of course you can also administer Ibuprofen. In our house the favoured form is Calprofen, because it tastes pretty similar to Calpol. But needless to say nowhere near as nice. Calprofen is so much more effective than Calpol – it brings the temperature down quicker and lower and lasts for longer. But my daughter (the only person in our house who ever gets ill) doesn’t like it.

So not only am I battling with the timings and doses, I am battling to get medicine down a very resistant little girl. What is best? A medicine which for kids over about the age of 3 takes an hour and a half to kick in, doesn’t bring the temperature right down and starts wearing off after only three and a half hours or holding your child down, prising her mouth open and forcing a spoonful of the good stuff in as she screams and retches?

Unless she is REALLY ill my preferred option is four doses of Calpol plus one of Calprofen in 24 hours. Her temperature may hover around 38 rather than the magical 37, but at least she isn’t getting overly distressed.

But if she is REALLY ill, I just call in reinforcements. Just before Christmas last year she had a nasty chest infection which wasn’t diagnosed for six days (bloody out of hours GPs didn’t consider a 4 year old with a 40 degree temperature worthy of a Sunday appointment).

One night when my husband was out (I was supposed to be out too), my mum said ‘If you need us, give us a call’. I did need her, at midnight. She wasn’t expecting that. The temperature had hit 40 again and there was no way that little girl was swallowing that Calprofen. So Grandma and Grandpa came round and we held her down, forced her mouth open and forced that spoonful of medicine down her and she fought us all the way. It’s incredible how strong a small, very poorly girl can be when she wants to be.

When she was 3 and suffering from one of her mystery high temperatures, the GP packed her off to the children’s ward for the afternoon. It took me, my mum and THREE nurses to hold down her flailing arms and squirt a bit of medicine in her mouth.

As I write this, she is ill. But for once she only seems to be slightly ill. My girl doesn’t do slightly ill, she only ever does really ill. Maybe she’s growing up and getting more immune. Maybe we can get off the Calpol rollercoaster soon. Fingers crossed.

Author: Sarah Mummy

Share This Post On


  1. we’re the other way round in our house: Nurofen is our drug of choice. My Girls have to be properly ill to entertain the notion of Calpol: which I suppose is quite scary in it’s own way.

    Post a Reply
  2. If my kids would only take the damned Nurofen/ Calprofen I would give them that every time. But it’s a careful balancing act with all the fighting involved in getting them to take it against how ill they really are. LIfe would be so much easier if they just didn’t get ill!

    Post a Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: